When I was given the Hulu password by my boyfriend, there was one show that every single person was making the unfortunate effort of ranting about and that was "The Handmaids Tale." It's a Hulu original that I knew very little about. All I knew is Amish looking women often walked around bloody and bruised, some of them missing eyes and other vital parts of their body.
Originally, many people saw "The Handmaids Tale" as a stand for women's rights and a depiction of what the world might become if we did make abortion and other reproductive health and necessities illegal. I see it as quite the opposite. Upon watching the scenes I was able to stomach, all I was filled with was a dreaded sense of "what if" and a frightening mirror of some current events in our world that filled me with fear from how this fictional show wasn't all that fiction. I didn't necessarily feel inspired to match out in the streets for my rights, but rather just a sense of dread and discouragement from a world that seemed so dark yet not even that far away.
Another thing that this show makes the grotesque mistake of doing time and time again is unbelievably vile depictions of rape, violence, cruelty, torment, and murder. I do not think that creating such scenes will ever result in any sort of "awareness" even though this is a trend that is on the fast track upwards. Filming whatever scenes of horror you like and then chalking it up to that of awareness seems to be something that almost all film, television, and content creators are getting away with in this day age.
Just as exposing graphic and triggering scenes of suicide in the Netflix original "13 Reasons Why" did not bring awareness to suicide, but rather exploited it as well as resulted in that of documented copycat attempts, displaying and exploiting rape in graphic depictions is in no way bringing any sort of awareness or promoting any sort of positive change.
The scenes exhibited in "The Handmaid's Tale" do not really prompt or inspire any sort of change, but rather leave one with the dark disturbing misery and an awareness of the kind of world that we live in. Viewers of Handmaid's Tale also aren't tuning into the series for education on the activism of women's rights in the same way people who regularly watch Game of Thrones aren't watching for information of Medieval History. They're watching for the gore, the gaps, the drama, things so gruesome that you can't possibly look away, like a train wreck occurring before you that you almost feel immoral or wrong for witnessing.
The film and book series "The Hunger Games" was a similar style to this dystopia writing where the world has spiraled into a chaos controlled by the government. This series of books is one that I read and the movies are also something that I watched and supported. "The Hunger Games" also exhibited violence as does "The Handmaid's Tale," but was kind enough to spare us graphic depictions of rape and other unspeakable acts. However, in this book series, it never elevated itself to that of activism. I am thankful for the women, their handmaid's outfits and protested restrictive abortion laws. I am thankful for those who came before me who granted the right to choose.
However, ever elevated any sort of pop culture platform whether that be books, movies, or television shows, you are putting yourself in dangerous territory.
The triggering depictions in "The Handmaid's Tale" or something that I do not believe a wide audience should have to be objected to and the sickening portrayals of gruesome injustice that this show never seems to hold back from in the slightest is one that I am a little surprised and disappointed took off to the level that it did. I never expected we as humans, a county, or a collective to lap up violence, rape depictions, and gore in the manner we do. I am not innocent myself having supported movies that elevate this and even written similar materials before in my own personal work that I strive to create.
However, I think that we don't need these kinds of senseless acts that trigger our victims in order to make a storyline entertaining.
An article was recently written in which a group of feminists discussed that although the show was supposed to inspire a sense of activism and bring recognition to women's rights, the entire premise seemed to be missing the plot entirely by scaring its viewers away. With graphics and gruesome scenes of horrific acts being committed and often even done in a way that makes you see through the vile eyes of the assaulter, the show has become one that I and many women around the globe are entirely unable to stomach. Most of the comments under the trailer say things such as, "This is extremely disturbing so I won't be viewing. Please pass on peace, love, and kindness." Or, "Don't we have enough of this?"
The world at large is growing weary of the incomprehensible violence we are forced to be desensitized so even if that violence or rape depiction is done in the name of activism. Upon researching, I realized that there are no trigger warnings at the beginning of any episodes, leaving victims or sexual assault or other crimes of battery to sit and play a guessing game as to if they're going to have to relieve violent depictions of their victimization. Trigger warnings, in general, have become somewhat of a mockery equipping the title of "social justice warrior," "libtard," and other offensive labels to anyone who dates request that consideration of victims be taken into account when content creating.
In conclusion, I will fight for a women's right to choose. I will fight for my LGBTQ folks across the globe and strive my best for a brighter tomorrow for the minorities that are so often left behind. I think shows such as this one are steering people in a direction that is not overall beneficial. The show has no visible representation of any LGBTQ characters, only heterosexual women being assaulted by their men. The plot in its entirety goes the at a relentless speed exposing us all to the torment and vile nature of the world in which we so often try to escape through art.
I am not saying I would like to be consumed by my entertainment and pop culture, oblivious to the acts that are occurring in the world around me, but rather, have those events of the world or dreaded upcoming events that our world could be headed to, in a fashion that gets the message across without triggering our victims. exploiting terror and assault, or scaring away a potential audience as well as neglecting minorities.